I had a pretty dark day yesterday, so felt it better that I didn't write. I knew that if I did it might tip me over into the black hole. That means that what should be day 11 is actually day 10. Sorry to those of you who came here and found nothing new.
Today I've been learning all about how to publish through CreateSpace. That's where I can get a print option for my books. I've been loading and re-loading my manuscript for hours, trying to get it right. I'm still not there but I have to wait a while now for them to get back to me on a question. I'll let you know here once the paperback option is available, I know a lot of people prefer paperback to kindle.
I'm not going to wallow in my misery of yesterday here today. Life just loves to pull the rug out from under us, but I'm going to try to go with it and make what seems like a setback into a success - somehow. Today I'm going to write about the last time I, or you, did something.
We all have last times; sometimes we know and sometimes we don't know that that particular time will be the last time. I'm talking about things like the last time you picked up your child, or held his/her hand. The last time you saw a dear friend or family member. When you know it's the last time you treasure it, load it into your long term memory, polish it and keep it safe. For example if that friend or family member is going to live far away you take photos, you have a meaningful conversation, shed some tears, make it a memorable event. Or the day that child just about causes you to bust a foofle valve and you say "That's the last time I'm going to be able to pick you up!", and as you rub your back and try to hide the sciatic pained limp you might take a few moments to remember the feel of that warm little body in your arms, and tuck that memory away.
Sadly, all too often, those last times happen and we don't know it. I don't remember the last time I carried my children. I remember going 'Oof you're getting heavy', but I don't remember which time was the last time. So I don't have that single memory tucked away like a crystal teardrop, even though I do have the myriad times of carrying a child on one hip while balancing something with my free hand firmly enmeshed in my memory.
I was brought up in a small town, where dances were held every month. Even as an adult I would go to most of those dances and at each one I would be sure to dance at least two dances with my father - The Gypsy Tap and a waltz. I have memories of those dances, but I didn't know that the last time I danced with my father would be the last time. So that memory escapes me. It was a ritual we had over the years and it was special to both of us, so to have forgotten the last time is like a small wound in my heart. There was no one reason why it was the last dance, so I had no idea that it would be special and I didn't lock it away in a 'dad' drawer in my memories.
There are lots of last times in our lives. I suppose not knowing them all in advance saves us some heartache. I do remember the last meal I cooked for my father, even though I didn't know it would be. I was visiting him at his retirement home and while he had cancer, he had been living with it for years. I cooked him new potatoes, broccoli and sausages with gravy. He loved it. The next day he went into hospital and he never came out. So I remember that meal.
I didn't know the last time I would have a meaningful conversation with him because none of us knew the path the cancer would take into his brain, leaving him dazed and confused. But I did know the last time I would hold his hand, my brother and I both at his side as he drew his last breath - we didn't know which of those slow torturous breaths would be the last either until he didn't take another.
I sat at his side, trying to remember the last time we danced and upset with myself that I couldn't.
My father died in December 2001, but in the way time has of bending, it doesn't seem that long ago. It doesn't seem that long ago I was hefting my children on my hip, yet my eldest boy graduated university last year. As a side note; I would unconsciously rock whenever I held something heavy for years. I was that person standing in the checkout line at the supermarket rocking gently to soothe a bag of potatoes. I still occasionally rock when carrying one of my cats if said cat tucks its head against my neck.
Memories are fickle, you learn that as you grow older. You retain things you have no real use for – I remember getting a ticket by a motorcycle policeman for not wearing a seatbelt, and being full of righteous indignation because I was only driving a hundred yards and then pulling off the road. You don’t remember things that you would much rather took up a spot in your memory instead of a motorcycle policeman grumpy at working on a Sunday afternoon.
I’ve read so many times that as you age your long term memory sharpens. Maybe one day I will remember that last dance. In the meantime, I’m going to look for the golden things in each day, both big and small. Things happen that we can’t predict, life changes and it’s seldom a smooth change. Usually it’s more like an earthquake. But if, every day, I go through and remember all the things both big and small, perhaps then I will remember the next last time – whatever it may be.
This is my dad - well his grave. He was a bit of a show off and I reckon he'd like to see his pic on my blog :)